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  • Bargaining academic staffing issues

    Our work on academic staffing is about building power to change the way colleges, universities and states think about instruction in higher education. To that end, we not only seek legislative solutions, but we are also constantly organizing to gain greater power, and we work to use that power in contract campaigns and at the bargaining table. This work is grounded in what local unions have been working on, and continue to work on, through collective bargaining.

    To help local unions continue that work and to achieve a more fair and equitable staffing structure, AFT has developed a new resource, the Faculty and College Excellence Collective Bargaining Toolkit . The aim of the toolkit is to put academic staffing issues front and center at the bargaining table, but to do that in a way that also grows our unions, educates the public, and moves policymakers and legislators to support higher education. The Toolkit provides advice on three important phases of the campaign:

    Gearing Up - assessing the local's contract and capacity and developing a bargaining agenda

    Execution - bargaining and activities to support the local's bargaining work

    After the Campaign - assessing your gains, consolidating your coalitions, and looking ahead

    Please download the Toolkit and make your local's bargaining efforts part of a broader campaign for equity. Please contact us if you'd like assistance in integrating these issues into your own contract negotiations.

    AFT has also produced a series of publications to help guide this bargaining, including:

    This section of our website is dedicated to capturing as many of these efforts and successes as possible. As we say on each page that documents these achievements, if your contract has provisions that should be included here, please contact us and let us know.

    Please select a bargaining issue to begin:


    Bargaining pro-rata pay for contingent faculty in the contract

    AFT set the following standards for pro-rata pay in our publication, Fairness and Equity: Standards of Good Practice in the Employment of Part-time/Adjunct Faculty:

    Part-time/adjunct faculty should be paid a salary proportionate to that paid to full-time tenured faculty of the same qualifications for doing the same work. The manner in which pro-rata pay is calculated is a matter of institutional choice depending on the nature of the college or university. In general, however, these standards are organized around the principle of pairing fully proportionate professional responsibilities with fully proportionate compensation.

    Below are examples of unions who have been working toward this standard, along with links to their web sites and collective bargaining agreements (where available).

    AFT 2121: Community College of San Francisco

    Establishing a compensation schedule that pays contingent faculty equitably with increases for service has been a priority at AFT 2121. According to the local's information sheet for part-time faculty:

    part-timers are paid from a salary schedule that mirrors the full-timer schedule. The schedule has columns, which reflect increasing amounts of education, and rows, sometimes called "steps," which reflect years of experience . . . Currently the pro-rata for part-timers at City College is 85%; that is, a part-timer is paid 85% of what a full-timer receives for each in-class hour. The current difference in pay (the 15% less that part-timers are paid) reflects the time spent on additional professional duties that full-timers are expected to perform, such as participation in departmental and college-wide committees and holding office hours, for which credit instructors are currently paid extra.

    In addition, part-time faculty at CCSF have paid office hours based on their workload. AFT 2121 has also come to an agreement with the District that the desirable level of pro-rata pay is 100% and are committed to working toward that goal.

    See the full AFT 2121 contract here.

    AFT Seattle Community Colleges, Local 1789

    AFT Seattle has been working steadily on pro-rata pay and part-time faculty now earn approximately 77 percent of what a full-time faculty member would make per course. When part-time faculty teach more than 66 percent of a full time workload, but less than 100 percent, they are paid from the full time salary schedule and considered "pro-rata" faculty. A part-time faulty member may teach a 100 percent load and be paid from the full-time faculty salary schedule, but only for one year. If the District wants to keep that person on a 100 percent load for a consecutive year, the faculty member is considered to be on the tenure-track.

    Read the full AFT Seattle CC contract here.

    Does your contract have good language in this area? Send us a message to let us know.

    Healthcare and pensions

    Note: Concerned about the Affordable Care Act? Please see the web page we've assembled here. Remember ACA does not supersede collectively bargained language including contract language on benefits eligibility or teaching load.

    Without universal healthcare coverage in the United States and as access to good and secure pensions deteriorate, medical and retirement benefits have become critical, particularly for low- and middle-income wage earners. A contingent faculty member working the equivalent of a full-load can still end up paying a significant portion of their income to buy into a healthcare and/or retirement plan. We seek to address this problem by mandating that all faculty teaching a 50% load or higher should have access to healthcare and pension benefits. Not surprisingly, given the magnitude and importance of this issue, many locals have bargained access to these benefits for contingent faculty.

    Below are examples of unions who have been working toward this standard, along with links to their web sites and collective bargaining agreements (where available).

    Faculty and Staff Federation of the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP)

    At CCP, adjunct faculty under the Federation contract earn one seniority unit for each semester taught; maximum of two seniority units per year. CCP pays 50% of the healthcare premium for employees with fewer than 8 seniority units and 75% of the healthcare premium for employees with 8 or more seniority units. For adjunct faculty at CCP with four or more units of seniority, the college will match employee contributions to a retirement plan of 5% of earnings.

    See the full Federation contract here.

    Lecturers' Employee Organization (LEO)

    At the University of Michigan, as stipulated in LEO's contract, every contingent faculty member who teaches at a 50% load for at least four months has access to health care benefits. The have also bargained "bridge coverage so that anyone teaching eight months has coverage for the full year.

    See the full LEO contract here.

    Los Angeles College Faculty Guild

    According to the LA College Faculty Guild Adjunct Survival Guide, qualifying part-time faculty have access to the health plans offered to full time faculty. The Guides states that:

    The district contributes $2,640 annually toward medical benefits for adjuncts who enroll and meet the following criteria:

    • are teaching in the current fall or spring semester
    • are on a seniority list
    • teach at least .33 FTE in the LACCD
    • have taught at least a .2 load for three out of the last eight semesters
    • Coverage is for 12 months, even if not teaching intersessions.

    See the full LA Faculty Guild contract here.

    The Minnesota State College Faculty

    At the Minnesota State two-year colleges, the typical load is 15 credits per semester with typical variations. Access to healthcare benefits and insurance are based on the credit load that a part-time faculty member carries. Part-time faculty member that carries 6 credits or credit equivalents in a semester are eligible for the partial employer contribution. That contribution includes:

    full employer contribution for basic life coverage, and at the faculty member's option, the partial contribution for health and dental coverage(s). The partial employer contribution for health and dental coverage(s) is fifty percent (50%) of the full cost.

    See the full MSCF contract here.

    United University Professions

    According to the UUP Part-time Fact Sheet, contingent faculty have the following healthcare benefits under the UUP contract.

    Part-timers who teach two courses or, if they don't teach courses, who are expected to earn $11,849 per year, are eligible for the same health insurance as full-timers. They receive coverage for 6 months for every semester or 5-month period they work. If they work two semesters or 10 months, they receive a full year of coverage. Part-timers who do not qualify for health insurance may buy it at the group rate. Part-timers who are eligible for health insurance also qualify for the Benefit Fund. This includes a dental benefit, vision benefit, and a scholarship for dependent children who attend SUNY state-operated colleges. Part-timers and their spouses will receive lifetime health insurance after they retire if they 1) are age 55 or older; 2) have 10 years (120 months) of health insurance eligibility in any state agency, not just SUNY, and 3) retire while they are receiving state health insurance benefits.

    UUP's full contract is here.

    Does your contract have good language in this area? Send us a message to let us know.

    Conversion to full-time positions

    Bargaining Language to Convert Contingent Faculty Positions into Full-time Faculty Positions

    Too often, contingent faculty serve an institution for years, often carrying the equivalent of a full-time load, but never being seen as a potential candidate for full-time, tenure-track positions. We believe that qualified contingent faculty should not only have an equal opportunity for open positions, but that institutions should provide priority consideration for those contingent faculty. The AFT regards priority consideration as one of its fundamental principles, and several local unions have already bargained such provisions.

    Below are examples of unions who have been working toward this standard, along with links to their web sites and collective bargaining agreements (where available).

    The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties

    APSCUF represents all faculty members at Pennsylvania's 14 publicly owned universities. Their system-wide contract includes a provision which states that:

    a full-time, temporary faculty member, who has worked at a University for five (5) full, consecutive academic years in the same department, shall be placed in tenure-track status, if recommended by the majority of the regular department faculty in accordance with the procedure developed by that department faculty.
    Faculty members converted into tenure-track positions in this manner are also able to "count time spent in a temporary or regular full-time position at the university . . . toward the required probationary period."

    See the full APSCUF contract here.

    Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers

    The HFCC Federation contract ensures a certain ratio of full-time to part-time faculty at the departmental level by converting part-time positions into full-time positions if the total number of classes covered by part-time faculty members exceed a set threshold. Here is the language:

    Whenever the number of classes taught during the day by part-time teachers within a department/division is equal to or exceeds two (2) full-time positions for three (3) consecutive semesters, the Administration shall honor the request of the department/division for additional full-time teachers, up to a number that would reduce the amount of day part-time teaching within the department/division to less than that equal to two (2) full-time positions.

    See the full HFCC Federation contract here.

    Does your contract have good language in this area? Send us a message to let us know.

    Full-time/part-time ratios

    Establishing a Ratio of Full-time Faculty to Part-time Faculty in the Contract

    The model Faculty and College Excellence legislation calls for 75 percent of undergraduate courses in each department with the equivalent of eight full-time positions be taught by full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty. The idea of setting a ratio to maintain a certain level of full-time staff is not new. Several local unions have done so, although formulas differ from institution to institution.

    Below are examples of unions who have been working toward or who have achieved this standard, along with links to their web sites and collective bargaining agreements (where available).

    Connecticut State University AAUP

    The CSU AAUP chapter, which bargains the contract covering Eastern, Central, Western and Southern Connecticut State Universities, has bargained a provision that establishes a limit on the number of part-time faculty teaching at any particular university in the system to 20 percent. That percentage is calculated as follows:

    The part-time percentage for a particular university shall be computed by multiplying by one hundred (100) all load credits earned by part-time members (excluding all part-time load credits attributable to sabbatic leave, sick leave, retraining coverage, research load credit, and all reassigned time for full-time members) divided by the aggregate faculty load credits for the particular university based upon the data for the particular academic year.

    See the full CSU-AAUP contract here.

    Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers

    The HFCC Federation establishes a ratio by establishing a floor for the size of the full-time faculty that increases annually. In addition, they ensure a certain ratio at the departmental level with the following language:

    Whenever the number of classes taught during the day by part-time teachers within a department/division is equal to or exceeds two (2) full-time positions for three (3) consecutive semesters, the Administration shall honor the request of the department/division for additional full-time teachers, up to a number that would reduce the amount of day part-time teaching within the department/division to less than that equal to two (2) full-time positions.
    See the full HFCC Federation contract here.

    The Minnesota State College Faculty

    The Minnesota State College Faculty represents all faculty, both part-time and full-time, in Minnesota's two-year colleges. The MSCF contract includes a provision which stipulates that the State will "employ no less than seventy percent" full-time faculty at the system level and "no less than sixty percent" full-time faculty at each institution.

    See the full MSCF contract here.

    Does your contract have good language in this area? Send us a message to let us know.

    Seniority and job security

    Bargaining Secure Employment Opportunities and Career Ladders for Contingent Faculty

    Contingent faculty routinely report that addressing the instability and insecurity of teaching term to term is a top priority for them and their unions. AFT has outlined several standards and practices that institutions should follow to establish a more secure employment environment. This should begin with a credible hiring process, include evaluations with criteria appropriate to the profession, and result in seniority and job protections against random appointments and non-appointments. In addition, we have called for adequate notification time of appointments and assignments so that contingent faculty can appropriately prepare for a course.

    Below are examples of unions who have been working toward this standard, along with links to their web sites and collective bargaining agreements (where available).

    AFT Seattle Community Colleges, Local 1789

    At the Seattle Community Colleges, part-time faculty members who teach an average of 50 percent for nine of twelve quarters (a period consistent with their tenure policy) are placed on a "priority hire list." This gives the faculty member a guarantee of his/her "customary workload" (but no less than 50 percent if that workload varied) as long as the courses on their qualifying list (courses they taught during that nine-twelve quarters) are offered and not needed for a full time faculty member to meet her/his workload. If there are more faculty on the priority hire list in a given department than courses available, seniority in the division is the determining factor for course assignments.

    In addition, a faculty member on the priority hire list must be notified 30 days before the end of the quarter if the dean believes his/her workload may not be available because of fewer classes. If the faculty member doesn't get this notification, her/his pay for the assumed workload is guaranteed - the administrator generally tries to find an alternative assignment. If a faculty member gets the letter notifying him/her that classes may not be available but the courses end up being offered, s/he must be assigned to them.

    Read the full AFT Seattle CC contract here.

    Lecturers' Employee Organization (LEO)

    Article XI on Appointments and Article XII on Layoffs are the cornerstone of the LEO contract and articulate a strong connection between professional responsibilities and rights.

    Under the LEO contract, every lecturer spends four years in a probationary title (as an Lecturer I or Lecturer III). There is an interim review which is intended to happen no later than the end of the fifth semester of teaching, looking at annual reports, syllabi, and student evaluations. No later than the eighth term of teaching, there is to be a major review, which if successful triggers a 7 percent raise, a 3 year appointment, some protections from layoff, and access to a more complete set of benefits (long-term disability and long-term sick pay most importantly). The terms of the evaluations used in these reviews are also included in the contract.

    After this point, lecturers have "presumption of renewal," which is defined as the expectation of recurring work provided that there is instructional need and budgetary support within the academic unit and that the Employee's performance meets the standards established by the academic unit, consistent with Article XIX, Performance Evaluation."

    LEO also negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding that lecturers can meet the four consecutive year probationary requirement by teaching any eight of the preceding ten semesters (fall and winter terms) which protects members having the probationary clock start over ad infinitum.

    See the full LEO contract here.

    Los Angeles College Faculty Guild

    As LA College Faculty Guild Adjunct Survival Guide states, the seniority rules in their contract are "complicated, but offer significant protection for part-time teachers." Here are the basics as set forth in the guide:

    • Instructors with seniority rights are entitled to teach the same-day, same-time class each semester if practicable.
    • If the same schedule is not available, a comparable assignment shall be offered.
    • Classroom instructors (both full-time instructors teaching overload and part-time instructors) must complete three semesters of adjunct assignments and accept a fourth assignment within a period of eight consecutive semesters to be placed on a seniority list in a discipline.
    • Part-time teachers may earn seniority in more than one discipline and on more than one campus.
    • Part-time teachers who are not offered a class due to a reduction in the offerings, you will remain on the seniority list for six semesters.

    See the full LA Faculty Guild contract here.

    Professional Staff Congress / CUNY

    The Professional Staff Congress represents more than 20,000 faculty and staff in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. In recent contracts, several new provisions were made to enhance contingent faculty job security, and older conditions were maintained and improved.

    PSC's 2002-2007 contract with CUNY created 100 new full-time Lecturer positions, to be filled by senior contingent employees. Upon a sixth full-time appointment, Lecturers are also eligible for a certificate of continuous employment (CCE), which entitles them to a more complete review process and access to all regular faculty benefits and retirement programs.

    The contract also includes beneficial career-building provisions for contingent faculty, including the creation of the Adjunct Professional Development Fund, which provides adjunct instructors financial support for continuing education and training. All untenured faculty also receive an additional 12 hours of reassigned time to pursue research, bringing the total of reassigned research hours to 24 during their first five appointments. In addition, those adjuncts serving at least four years as Instructors or pre-CCE Lecturers prior to appointment as an Assistant Professor will receive two years of credit toward tenure.

    The 2007-2010 contract built on the gains of the previous contract and added another 100 lines of conversion for Lecturers, as well as a cap on the number of new contingent hires. The Professional Development Fund was also renewed.

    The PSC is once again at the bargaining table, more information can be found about their campaign on their website.

    The full contract is available here.

    UFCT 1460 / The Pratt Faculty Union

    The Pratt Faculty Union has one of the oldest higher education contracts in the country and early on they were able to establish a strong job security and career ladder system known as a Certificate of Continuous Employment.

    Article 23 of the contract sets out the terms of a CCE.

    XXIII.2 Part-time adjunct faculty members hired after September 1972.

    (a) Prior to the completion of ten (10) semesters of service (as an adjunct), faculty members in this category shall make a decision as to whether or not they wish a full-time position.

    (1) If they do not wish a full-time position after the tenth semester, they will not be reappointed to the adjunct faculty but may be appointed to the visiting faculty.

    (2) Subject to the provisions of Article XVI, if they wish a full-time position they may be granted a Certificate of Continuous Employment. In the event that a full-time position within the field of competence of such a faculty member holding a CCE becomes available and the CCE applies for the position, the CCE will be among the finalists for the position.

    (b) Each semester adjunct faculty covered by this section will be evaluated as to whether or not they meet the departmental standards of professional competence as teachers. If two (2) successive academic year evaluations are negative, they will not be reappointed. Evaluation reports shall be in writing with copies given to the individual faculty member who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments.

    XXIII.3 Promotional opportunities shall be available for part-time faculty members in Adjunct ranks: i.e., Adjunct Instructor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, Adjunct Professor.

    Read the full Pratt Faculty Union contract here.

    University Council - AFT

    UC-AFT (University Council-American Federation of Teachers) represents all faculty in the entire University of California system who are not on the tenure track, both full- and part-time (they also represent the UC librarians). They have fought to include several new provisions in the September 2007 Lecturers' contract to improve the security and stability of non-tenure-track positions in the UC system.

    First, the contract outlines a process of seniority for contingent faculty members. Seniority is measured in terms of number of months in service at an appointment of .5 FTE or more, and after six years of continuous service, contingent faculty members are automatically awarded three-year continuous appointment contracts, which give them more protection against layoffs and preference in hiring for available classes or positions.

    Even for pre-six year employees, the seniority process has considerable benefits. All lecturers are protected against losing part or all of their appointments to lower paid lecturers purely for money-saving reasons. Furthermore, the University is prohibited from cutting back pre-six year lecturers' positions to avoid extending a continuous appointment.

    The contract also stipulates that the University must give sufficient notice of any anticipated layoffs, including reductions in hours, to all contingent employees. Employees with continuous appointments are guaranteed a full year's notice of any intention to terminate their contract. Pre-six year appointees receive notice corresponding to their seniority. The contract ensures that layoff periods of less than one term still count toward University service and seniority, and any employee who does not receive proper notice of layoff or hour reduction is entitled to pay through the end of their contract.

    Full UC-AFT contracts are available here.

    Does your contract have good language in this area? Send us a message to let us know.


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